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How to access your iTunes library from any iOS or Android device

Apple has temporarily disabled Home Sharing access to your iTunes music library for mobile devices. But there are other ways to stream music from your iTunes library to your phone or tablet.

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With apps like FileBrowser, you can easily access your iTunes library from your iOS device. screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

I have a huge iTunes library of music and videos on my home network that I can access from my iPhone and iPad. But I don't use Apple's Home Sharing. So how do I access my library?

With the debut of iOS 8.4 last week, which brought with it the new Apple Music service, Apple disabled music streaming via its Home Sharing service. That means all the people who used Home Sharing to stream music to their iPhones and iPads are now out of luck. On Monday, Apple iTunes vice president Eddy Cue tweeted that Home Sharing should return with the release of iOS 9, due out in September. But there are other ways to play songs and videos from your iTunes library on your mobile device, and they don't require any solutions from Apple.

Quite simply, I use file browser apps that can connect to my iTunes library over my home network. Such apps can connect to a computer or an NAS (network-attached storage) device on my network, giving me full access to all the files on that device, including those from my iTunes library. And these apps aren't just for iOS devices. You'll find them for Android devices, so I can access my iTunes content from my Android tablet as well.

You'll find plenty of file browser apps in Apple's App Store and Google Play. Just run a search for file browsers and look for ones that allow you to access PCs or NAS devices on your home network.

As one example, the app I use on my iPhone and iPad is called FileBrowser. Though it costs $5.99, I've found it one of the best of its kind. You simply set up remote access to your computer or NAS over your home network. After setup, just tap the name of the computer or NAS, and FileBrower shows you all of the network shares and folders on the device. From there, you can just drill down to the share that houses your iTunes library. You can then browse through all of the folders that contain your songs. Tap the name of the tune you want to play, and that's it. FileBrowser can even play the song in a mini music player, so you can pause, move ahead, move back and shuffle your music lineup.

On the Android side, I use a free app called ES File Explorer File Manager, which works similarly to FileBrowser. You set up remote access to the computer or NAS that stores your iTunes library. You then connect to the share or folder that houses your library and drill down until you reach your music collection. Tap the name of a particular song, and it starts playing. You can also call up a music player that displays album art and lets you pause, play, move ahead, move back and shuffle your music.

With the help of apps like FileBrowser and ES File Explorer File Manager, you don't need to rely on Apple to access your iTunes library from any mobile device, be it iOS or Android.

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